Copa Del Rey: Barcelona vs Valencia- Preview, TV Channel Info, Team News, Prediction, Betting Odds
Barcelona host the struggling Valencia in the first leg of the semi-finals of the Copa Del Rey as the holders aim for a third successive final. Having brushed Athletic Bilbao aside 5-2 on aggregate in the last 8, the Catalans now prepare to take on a side who are vying for a place in the finals for the first time since 2008.
Los Che won the Spanish King’s Cup title that year, beating Getafe 3-1 at the Vincente Calderon, but haven’t lifted any silverware ever since. Now back in contention for a trophy, Valencia will look to emulate the feat by causing an upset against the defending champions, whom they’ve held to a 1-1 draw in the league earlier this season.
Although winds of change have blown over the clubs since their last meeting, can Valencia still replicate the form and pull off a shocker ? or will the mighty Barcelona just prove to be too big of a challenge?
Kickoff and Live Telecast
Date and Time: 4th February, 2016 – 01:30 AM (IST)
Telecast: The game is not scheduled for a live telecast in India
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona.
Hosts Barcelona enter the tie at full strength with no major injury concerns to contend with, whereas Valencia too, have a complete squad to choose from. Los Che, though, may field their newest member Guilherme Siqueira, who was roped in on loan from league rivals Atletico Madrid till the end of the season.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegan; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Mathieu; Rakitic, Arda, Busquets; Messi, Suarez, Neymar.
Valencia (4-3-3): Ryan; Barragan, Mustafi, Abdennour, Gaya; Gomez, Perez, Parejo; Bakkali, Negredo, Feghouli.
Barcelona’s run so far this year suggests they are in a rich vein of form, but a closer look at the recent outings will indicate that its their quality within the ranks that’s saving their beacon. The Catalans are found sloppy during the opening half of the last few games, but are eventually put through by their stellar forward line of ‘MSN’.
Nevertheless, Barcelona are unbeaten in their last 24 games, and are aiming for a third successive appearance in the Copa Del Rey finals.
Last 5 matches: W-W-W-W-W (Last result: Barcelona 2-1 Atletico Madrid)
There has been a change in the dugout at the Mestella, but not in the results, as Valencia continue to struggle even under Gary Neville. The former Manchester United maestro took over the mantle from Nuno Santos back in November, but hasn’t been able to steer his side to a win yet.
The Bats are languishing in the mid-table after an abysmal league campaign, but have been a different animal in the cup games. Barring the 1-1 draw against Las Palmas at home in the previous round, Valencia have won all their games en route to the last 4 and will seek to keep the momentum going against the mighty Blaugrana.
Last 5 matches: D-D-D-W-L (Last result: Valencia 0-1 Sporting Gijon)
- Barcelona have lost just 1 of their last 10 home games against Valencia in all competitions.
- The Blaugrana are undefeated at home in all competitions this season.
- Valencia have lost just 1 of their last 5 away games in all competitions this term.
- The sides last met in the cup back in 2012, when Barcelona beat Valencia 3-1 on aggregate.
- Both teams have drawn 1 and won their remaining games in the Copa Del Rey so far this season.
Antonio Barragan vs Neymar
He may not have been amongst much goals recently, but Neymar remains instrumental to the Barcelona set-up. The Brazilian starlet is known for wreaking havoc down the left wing and creates chances to his counterparts, Messi and Suarez, with his neat footwork and ability drop into pockets of space.
Neymar’s inguenity may act as a daylight between his side and Valencia as the visitors are known for choking their opponents with their robust style of play and often step up to the plate against bigger teams. Going head-to-head in the game’s duel with him is right-back Antonio Barragan, who has slotted into the defecen seamlessly.
The Spanish fullback was a fringe player under Santos, but has become a regular in Valencia’s team-sheet, displacing Jose Cancelo from his spot. The defender faces the monumental task of going against the might of Neymar and needs to obstruct his movements to prevent him from having an influence in the game.
Valencia have come up trumps against bigger sides in the division, but flattered to deceive against the minnows. This Jekyll and Hyde stuff may not take them too far and need to be at their best to get the better of Barcelona.
The holders have been walking on shaking grounds of late, and appear to be falling off their perch. However, they should still have no concerns in disposing this challenge.
Predicted score: Barcelona 3-1 Valencia
Betting Odds (bet365)
Barcelona – 9/4
Draw – 13/5
Valencia – 4/1